How to Create a Successful Facebook Ad

According to research compiled by HubSpot, Facebook ad revenue grew from just under $2 billion in 2010 to $12.5 billion, with ads accounting for “more than 9% of total digital ad spending and 18.4% of global mobile digital advertising.”[1]

The platform’s success is due to its targeting capabilities. Unfortunately, Facebook ads are not necessarily beginner-friendly, and the large range of ad options make it tough for those new to business marketing to get started. To some extent, you just have to dive in and learn as you go, but have no fear, we are here to help.

Your advertisement should reflect the action you want people to take after viewing your ad. For example, you can create an ad to entice people to install your mobile app, which is different than creating an ad to encourage people to visit your website. In order to drive people to perform your intended call-to-action you need to create an optimized Facebook ad targeted at the right audience through the following process:

•             Objective: What do you hope to gain from the Facebook ad? Before considering placing a Facebook ad, ask yourself what the goal of the advertisement is (i.e., website clicks, increase sales).

•             Audience: Remember the targeting features. Using them appropriately can mean the difference between an ad that reaches Facebook users who are more likely to respond positively to it versus reaching users who don’t care.

•             Placement: Facebook frequently releases new ad formats. One of the most recent is the Canvas ad type, which enables in-page launching of full-screen media assets. Remember to study the Facebook’s ad types carefully and choose the one you think will best suit your audience and goals.

•             Budget and Schedule: Specify what days and times you want your ad to be displayed to prevent your ad from running all day.

Below are the three formats of effective Facebook ads.


Once you have your color scheme nailed down and have decided which type of Facebook ad would best suit your message and image, it is time to consider which Facebook Ad format will best get your message across to the targeted audience.

Desktop News Feed


This type of ad appears directly in a user’s News Feed when they access Facebook on a desktop computer, and it looks more like native advertising (such as a regular post from a friend). In our experience, these ads have a higher engagement rate than right column ads, but they can also be more expensive. Here’s how your ad will display on desktop devices:

•             Image display: 470 x 246 pixels

•             Headline: 1-2 lines

•             Text: 500 characters maximum

•             News Feed link description: 2-3 lines

Right Column


This type of ad is the most traditional on Facebook, it appears on the right side of a user’s Facebook News Feed. Although ads in the News Feed are likely to get higher engagement metrics due to its native advertising features (this is the first type of advertising Facebook had), right column ads shouldn’t be forgotten. There are often less expensive clicks and conversions when using these ads. In order for a right column ad to be successful, it needs to be relevant, have a value proposition, a good visual, and have a call-to-action. Here’s how your ad will display on desktop right column:

·                     Image display: 254 x 133 pixels

·                     Headline: 25 characters maximum

·                     Text: 90 characters maximum

Mobile News Feed


Like the Desktop News Feed ad, this appears in the user’s Mobile News Feed and displays like an organic post from people and pages that they follow. Here’s how your ad will display on mobile devices with a screen size of 1,136 x 640 pixels:

•             Image display: 560 x 292 pixels

•             Headline: 1-2 lines

•             Text: 110 characters maximum

•             News Feed link description: 1 line



Visual content is more likely to be shared and remembered than written content. No matter what type of ad you create, your image needs to be visually appealing.

It is also important to keep in mind when selecting cover photos, shared images, and other social media assets, the basic image dimensions might not be best. Each type of image location requires different dimensions:

·                     Cover image: 828 x 315

·                     Profile image: ≥180 x 180

·                     Shared image: 1200 x 900

·                     Shared link preview image: 1200 x 628


Relevance is critical for success when using Facebook advertising. If you’re showing ads that aren’t relevant to your target audience, you’re wasting your time and money and will likely not see success with any kind of advertising.

Includes an Enticing Value Proposition

A value proposition tells the reader why they should click on your ad to learn more about your product. How is your product or service different from any other? Why should the viewer click on your ad to see your website?

A Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

A beautiful and relevant ad is great, but without a call-to-action, your viewer might not know what to do next. Add a CTA like “Buy now and save X%,” or “Offer ends soon” which includes a sense of urgency to your viewer. Your CTA should encourage people to click on your ad now.


Before you decide which Facebook format would best suit your ad’s message and image, first consider what type of ad will be most effective. Below are the kinds of ads that can be used to target the maximum amount of Facebook users on any given day.

The Offer

Consumers are always on the lookout for anything free. When used in advertising, it can be an incredibly effective technique, but capitalizing on the psychology of “free” does not mean you have to give away your product for free.  For example, you could make something “free” as part of a special offer that comes along with buying your product:


Get Urgent

Consumers hate losing out on a great deal. It’s the principle of loss aversion: we feel bad when we miss out on getting something, but we feel even worse about losing. So when we see an urgent opportunity arise, we do not want to let it slip through our fingers. However, a big problem with this ad technique is that urgency can be difficult to trigger in people. To trigger the sense of urgency in a potential customer, you must create an ad that induces scarcity in the item being offered. Grabbing hold of your audience’s attention with a deal that they just can’t pass up will create a fear of missing out.


Images of Faces

People love to see faces. According to a 2005 Caltech study,[5] there’s even a specific group of cells in our brains that fire only when we see a face. It’s a phenomenon that’s deeply embedded in our brain chemistry, so use it in your Facebook ads.



We all love the feeling of being a part of something. So when you see a raving customer testimonial for a company’s service or product, a part of your brain lights up as if to say, “Buy this product and join the club.”


Location-Specific Imagery

Facebook advertising makes it really easy to set up multiple campaigns targeting different demographics and regions. And you won’t be fully capitalizing on the potential of Facebook ads unless you’re using this feature to change the content of your ads to match the region you’re targeting.

For example, if you’re in New York City, “NYC” will most likely be plastered all over and is going to draw attention. This is something lacking in most Facebook ads, so use this to your advantage.


Intersections of Interests

Interest intersections are powerful in the same way localized ads are. When you show people an ad that feels like it’s personalized, they’re way more likely to stop, click, and share because they feel that personal connection to it. This kind of multi-product ad allows advertisers to showcase multiple products within one ad. Targeting multiple interests is one of the most powerful techniques out there for getting people to stop and check out your services or products.



The use of color can make even the most common item seem fabulous, stirring our emotions at every turn.  So, when you’re sifting through your News Feed, what tends to catch your attention? More likely than not, your attention gets drawn to YouTube videos, pictures, GIFs, and other visual content.  What this means is that creating visuals such as infographics, charts, graphs, and other shareable images will do wonders for catching readers’ attention and enhancing clicks to your ad content used in combination with other techniques.

While there are many websites and software available to help create compelling visuals, some parts of graphic design take a little more knowledge- such as picking the right colors. Consider this your introductory course to color theory; learn the tips you should know to pick the best colors for your ad.


The color red is associated with passion, excitement, and urgency. It’s a dangerous color in advertising, as many people associate red with negativity and mistakes. However, it attracts the eye better than any other color and causes us to act when we otherwise wouldn’t.

How to use: don’t use red as your ad’s primary color. People find too much of the color intimidating, forceful, and pushy. Use red to draw attention to parts of your ad, like around a Call-to-Action, value proposition, or as a border (Note: Red is aesthetically pleasing to use in contrast with other, cooler colors like dark grey, blue, and green).

How NOT to use: Too much red causes loss of temper, agitation, anger, and overbearing, demanding, and oppressive behaviors. Too little red causes lethargic, cautious, whiny, and manipulative feelings. To get out of control emotions under control add green, the opposite of red. To get rid of exhaustion, add more red.


Orange is another beloved color of the entertainment, media, and marketing industries. Eye-catching and bright, orange is one of the most popular colors for landing page calls-to-actions. Some industries even make logos orange to stand out.

How to use: Orange is one of the best and most eye-catching colors available. Use it around calls-to-actions or as a border around non-eye-catching products.

How NOT to use: You will definitely need to find a balance while using orange. Too much orange causes has been associated with naiveté and a lack of professionalism; while too little orange causes loss of motivation.


Associated with wealth, green also signifies positive action and reliability. Research has shown that shades of green and teal are often heavily associated with shoppers on a budget. Research has also indicated that different shades, tints, and hues of green have different meanings: dark green represents greed, ambition, and wealth; yellow-green stands for sickness, jealousy, and cowardice; and olive green represents peace.[6]

How to use: Use teal and green with a social offer, discount code, or coupon ad- they are highly effective, yet don’t create the loudness of orange and red.

How NOT to use: Too much green can cause people to become lazy and lackluster, causing feelings of apathy for the product or offer.


Blue is said to create the sensation of trust and security. Lighter blues are calming while darker blues denote professionalism and sincerity. Blue is used by many of the largest computing companies (such as IBM and Facebook) because it symbolizes intelligence, efficiency, and logic.

How to use: use blue as your primary color only if you’re including accents of oranges, reds or yellows (Note: solely using blue and white will cause your ad to blend into the current color scheme of Facebook and users won’t see it).

How NOT to use: If you’re selling food, do not use blue as many consumers associate it with illness and mold.[7]


Associated with calm and wealth. However, use purple only if your target demographic is women, as its men’s second-least-favorite color.

How to use: If your ad talks about increasing profits or ROI, use green or purple to communicate wealth. Also consider using purple if your target demographic is aged 60 or older.

How NOT to use: Like orange, you will need to find a balance while using purple. Too much purple brings out qualities of irritability, impatience, and arrogance. Too little purple brings out feelings of negativity and apathy.[8]


Powerful and sleek, black signifies sincerity and sophistication when used in conjunction with a strong, bright white. Black is used to commonly target youth and a high-end audience. It creates a mystery while representing power, authority, and elegance in the logo.[9]

How to use: Black should be used if your company is looking to create a professional brand profile.

How NOT to use: If you want to promote your business as fun and engaging, steer clear of black as a main focal point of color. If you are looking to create a fun and engaging business persona, use hues of orange, red, green, or blue with black text to avoid running the risk of clashing colors.

Final Thoughts

Contrasting your Facebook Ad’s colors intelligently can have a huge effect on its success. The human eye is naturally attracted to contrasting color. Use this when considering which shades and tints of color to use. For instance, studies show that men prefer bright colors while women have a preference for soft colors. It is essential you keep this in mind when designing your Facebook Ad in order to target the right audience for your business.  Also remember that there are hundreds of different shades of each color. Take red for example, a darker shade signifies aggression and while a lighter shade is associated with which warmth and excitement.


There has been a lot of theory discussed in this post; but when it comes to choosing colors, understanding color theory can do wonders for your ad’s performance. Remember:[10]

·         Don’t stick with pre-sets. Design programs will automatically give you preset colors. Get past the presets and explore all the different shades and tints of color to find what best suits your message.

·         Start with one color. Start with the primary color you want to represent your message and build an appropriate color scheme from there. If you start with multiple colors, you will have a harder time finalizing your color palate.

Hopefully this list of examples of the different types of Facebook posts helps you to solidify your company’s next marketing campaign! The big lesson for marketers is to post content that is interesting, entertaining, helpful, and/or relevant to your audience. Remember, the Facebook Ads Manager will give you step-by-step instructions on how to set up your ad— so don’t feel overwhelmed.


Divergent Web Solutions creates high-quality websites and is a full service web presence company to support small businesses, creating space and focus on their design, marketing, social and/or development platforms where they do not have to pay the price of hiring a custom developer. Contact us for a free consultation, and we’ll develop a customized quote tailored just for your unique needs and budget at













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